Photo credit: Mark
The aurora borealis, or "northern lights" is a phenomenon that draws travelers from around the world to the rugged wilderness of Canada. The Great White North is one of the best places in the world to admire Mother Nature's light show, sending vibrant purples, greens, reds and yellows slithering into the country's dark skies.
The aurora borealis is a unique celestial display caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with the molecules and atoms in Earth's atmosphere. The result is mesmerising, brightly-colored streamers in the sky. These eight places across Canada are some of the best in the world for catching a glimpse of the ethereal northern lights.
1. Whitehorse, Yukon
Photo credit: Mikofox Photography
Travelers who visit the Yukon in the winter months will likely see the northern lights more than once. Venture just a short distance away from the city of Whitehorse's light pollution, and you can see stunning displays from a number of rental lodges and retreats.
2. La Ronge, Saskatchewan
Head into the wilderness of Northern Saskatchewan's prairies, and you'll find some of North America's darkest skies. A number of tours leave from the town of La Ronge, which is near some of the world's best fly-in ice fishing lodges.
3. Mucho Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia
The northern reaches of British Columbia offer some of the most picturesque backdrops for catching a glimpse of the northern lights. The aurora borealis reflects off the calm waters of Mucho Lake year-round, and the Northern Rockies Lodge is a cozy haven for a viewing trip in any season.
4. Fort McMurray, Alberta
Photo credit: Shawn McCready
Fort McMurray can be found on the 56th parallel, which is underneath the auroral zone, where most auroras occur. Because of this, Fort McMurray is a hotspot for finding quality northern lights tours and expeditions.
5. Iqaluit, Nunavut
Only those who are willing to brave the cold venture to the Arctic archipelago of Nunavut. Iqaluit is the capital of the territory, but little to no tourist infrastructure exists. The lack of light pollution and the opportunity to find your own way make Iqaluit a special place for an aurora borealis adventure.
6. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
The eastern neighbor of Canada's Yukon is the Northwest Territories. Visitors have a 90-percent chance of seeing the northern lights in this less populated province during the winter months.
7. Battle Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador
Use charming Battle Harbour as your homebase for northern lights adventures, or snap photos of the aurora borealis behind the village's historic buildings. This carefully restored fishing station is only open from June to September, but its northern location and minimal light pollution means you'll likely find what you're seeking during those months.
8. Dempster Highway, Yukon
Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management
Cruise along the northernmost highway in Canada, and you'll find yourself pulling over in the evening hours to admire some of the most spectacular aurora borealis displays in the country. The road, which winds into the Arctic Circle, can be extremely dangerous in the winter months, so traveling with a tour guide is recommended during the snowy seasons.
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